She lost her bid for the seat by 45 votes to Nicole Lowen, who will face off against Republican nominee Roy Ebert in the Nov. 6 general election.
Akaka’s was one of a handful of primary election challenges filed with the Hawaii Supreme Court.
In paperwork filed on Tuesday, Akaka says there were several problems with the Aug. 11 primary that could cause a difference in the election results. The main issue, though, has to do with polling places opening and closing late.
Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi was slammed in a recent Hawaii Office of Election’s report for mismanaging the primary election. At least 13 polling places opened late on the Big Island on Aug. 11, causing Gov. Neil Abercrombie to issue an emergency decree allowing voters more time to cast their ballots.
“I am bringing this lawsuit because I feel that due to the numerous voting procedure irregularities which have been extensively covered by the media, Hawaii Island citizens were not provided with a proper and fair electoral process,” Akaka said in a press release sent late Wednesday.
In the challenge documents, Akaka also faults Kawauchi and her office for contributing “to the massive voting conduct irregularities which resulted in the wrongful extension of the statutory hours of voting which then caused invalid ballots and votes to be cast and inextricably intermingled with valid ballots and votes cast.”
But Akaka also alleges Abercrombie didn’t have the authority to extend the voting hours from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. As a result, she says all votes cast after 6 p.m. shouldn’t count. She also believes there were enough voters who cast ballots after 6 p.m. to make a difference in the election.
Another concern Akaka cites has to do with the release of election results. She said that at 10:40 p.m. on Aug. 11 all the ballots had been counted and she trailed Lowen 980 to 1,025. At 3:15 a.m. a new tally was announced that included 207 ballots that weren’t counted previously. The difference between Akaka and Lower remained at 45 votes, 1,022 to 1,069.
Akaka says this “indicates” there was an “error in counting” that could influence the election results.
To remedy the alleged miscount, she wants the Nov. 6 general election to serve as a new Democratic primary for her race. A special mail-in general election would then be held to determine who takes the District 6 seat.
Akaka also says she would like to see a recount of the Aug. 11 primary results.
Han’s complaint is different from Akaka’s in that it alleges his opponent Joey Manahan committed voter intimidation and fraud along with current District 7 Council Member Romy Cachola. Both Cachola and Manahan won their respective races in the primary.
Two other complaints were submitted to the state by the Aug. 21 deadline. One came from Khistina Caldwell Dejean, who was the fourth candidate in the race for Honolulu mayor. The other came from Hope Louise Cermelj, who received 35 votes in her non-partisan bid for the District 4 seat in the state House of Representatives.
Both Dejean and Cermelj’s challenges were handwritten.